Sault hosting major trail running competition

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Dust off your running shoes. The Algoma region is hosting a major trail marathon competition this fall. Ultra Trail Stokely Creek will be taking place on Saturday, October 5 in the back country north of Sault Ste. Marie.

The event will feature five race lengths based on participants’ ability. There will be a 5-kilometre, 15-kilometre and 32-kilometre offering, along with ultra-distance levels of 55-kilometres and 83-kilometres. Each route winds through the rugged Algoma Highlands wilderness, and some of the more challenging courses will even take runners up Robertson Cliffs, Buttermilk Ski Hill and iconic King Mountain.

The inaugural Ultra Trail Stokely Creek is being hosted by Bear In Mind Running, in partnership with Algoma Highlands Conservancy and Stokely Creek Lodge. To register, or to learn more, visit www.utstokelycreek.com.

“We designed the routes to challenge competitors as they navigate some of Northern Ontario’s most difficult trail running terrain,” said race director Nick Brash, owner of Bear In Mind Running. “Harsh weather with plenty of mud is a real possibility when the race begins. But just as possible is a beautiful fall day in Algoma country. In either case, runners will need to prepare to battle all elements of a Northern Ontario fall day, along with the physical and mental obstacles that these trails present. That’s what this race is all about – pushing yourself and your perceived limits.”

Ultra Trail Stokely Creek is expected to draw participants and their family members from across Ontario and Michigan. With the visitor-attraction benefits to the community, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, along with Algoma Country, are supporting race organizers in promoting and delivering this event.

“Having this race take place in our backyard is a great way to showcase the region’s outstanding terrain, fall colours and natural beauty,” said Alana Kenopic, Manager of Sports Tourism & Special Events for the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation. “This race is also a great way to attract visitors to our community. We look forward to working with organizers to hopefully make this an annual event.”

As this is an exclusive race with environmental stewardship undertones, registrations for each distance have been have capped at a number that can be managed by Ultra Trail Stokely Creek. To sign up, visit www.utstokelycreek.com. If there is more demand than available spaces, a lottery will be held to select the remaining five registrations per distance. Details on the lottery will be posted on the event website. If a lottery is not needed, the registration deadline will be September 26, which is one week before race day.

Meanwhile, organizers are also seeking volunteers and sponsors. To get involved, please contact race director Nick Brash at nick@bearinmindrunning.com